Gayatri-Mantra Meaning & Benefits, 4 Ways to Discipline, Gunas, Veda-Vyasa (86)


Lesson 86 brings humility & removes subtle pride/arrogance. It shows us nothing is mine, like fame, knowledge, speech, memory, ability to contemplate, patience, capacity to forgive. What is a deva? Dangers of gambling? Glory of Arjuna, Vyasa, How to discipline and silence.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10: Verse 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.


  • CH10 title is Vibhūti-Yoga. Wherein Krishna (representing Īśvara) says:
    • Because of My yoga (māyā), remaining as nimitta/upādāna-kāraṇam in potential…
    • When this potential becomes unstable (because of time still ticking in potential), then…
    • Māyā projects the jagat of apparent duality, using it’s 3 guṇa śākti.
    • What do we mean by “unstable”?
      • Imagine a mind that’s very peaceful/stable. Meaning it’s sattva-guṇa dominant.
        • When raja-guṇa arises (because of saṃskāra/vāsana), then mind extroverts.
      • In same way, māyā is pure sattva-guṇa.
        • When raja-guṇa arises (because of total saṃskārās), then…
        • … māyā projects a jagat (according to total saṃskārās).
        • And various jagat manifestations is what we call: vibhūtis.
  • Therefore, Arjuna is a tourist on bus going through jagat of vibhūtis.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 34:

mṛtyuḥ sarvaharaścāhamudbhavaśca bhaviṣyatām |
kīrtiḥ śrīrvākca nārīṇāṃ smṛtirmēdhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā ||

I am death, the destroyer of everything; (I am) the source of future prosperity. Among ‘women’ (I am) fame, prosperity. Speech, memory, intelligence, fortitude and patience.


  • ahaṃ sarvaharaḥ mṛtyuḥ asmi: Whatever jīva has acquired, I am one who takes it all away at time of death.
    • mṛtyuḥ puts end to something.
    • Śaṅkara says, 2 types of death:
      • 1) Dhana-hara: Takes away wealth.
        • Title, land, possessions, money.
      • 2) Prāṇa-hara: Takes away life.
    • Whereas, mṛtyuḥ is sarva-hara: takes away everything (whole universe).
      • Previously, Lord Yama (V29) enforces discipline. Puts end to adharma. Whereas mrtyuḥ puts end to everything; the good, the bad and the ugly.
    • VERSE: I am Īśvara in form of destroyer (Rudra). Everything resolves into myself at time of pralaya.
  • udbhavaśca bhaviṣyatām:
    • 2 desirable ends for human being:
      • 1) Udbhavaḥ: that which happens in plenty & desirable way.
        • IE: Any pleasant experience. EG: Comfort.
        • Dharma, Artha, Kāma.
      • 2) Mokṣa: most desirable.
    • VERSE: Who am I (Bhagavān)? I am prosperity for those yet to taste dharma/artha/kāma. Their prosperity belongs to Me.
      • Thus today’s puṇya, is NOT yours. Because capacity to gather puṇya is My manifestation.
  • kīrtiḥ śrīḥ vāk ca nārīṇāṃ smṛtiḥ medhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā:
    • Firstly, what is a devatā?
      • EG of devatās:
        • Lakṣmī: presides over wealth.
        • Sarasvatī: presides over knowledge.
        • Pārvatī: presides over śakti.
      • When we say “Everything in manifestation is associated to a deva/devatā”, we mean:
        • Every aspect of manifestation is governed by laws which intelligently interact with surroundings. EG:
          • Earth rotating around own axis.
          • Earth rotating around sun.
          • Skin punctured, blood vessels contract, proteins released to form clot.
          • Lightening: frozen droplets bump into each other. Create electric charge. Bottom of cloud NEG. Earth POS. Lightening.
          • Thermodynamics 1st law: Heat added. Some stays, some leaves.
          • So laws are various aspects of Īśvara’s intelligent cause (nimitta-kāraṇam).
            • These laws are called devās/devatās.
      • VERSE: Among female devatās (among words in fem. gender), I am:
        • Kīrtiḥ: fame born of dharma (virtues / good acts).
          • Possibility of mass recognition belongs to Īśvara.
        • Śrī: Wealth, health, knowledge, everything desirable.
        • Vāk: speech which is: hita (good), satya (truthful), priya (pleasant).
          • Can be either used for:
            • Fear-spreading, meaningless conversations, OR…
            • Impart well-researched knowledge, discipline, chant name of Lord.
        • smṛtiḥ: capacity to remember good advice WHEN needed.
        • medhā: power to receive, retain and reflect upon the essence of a subject.
        • dhṛtiḥ: perseverance, patience, fortitude.
          • Ability which makes one continue despite repeated failures.
          • Not letting your long term goal be tarnished by short-term hardships..
          • Paramarthānanda calls: saṃsāra rubber-ball.
        • kṣamā: Often translated ‘forgiveness’. Actually, capacity of not getting disturbed.
          • Mind doesn’t undergo significant changes when praised/criticized. Neither elated/depressed.
    • Remember: Next time someone claps because of your vāk (speech), kīrti (fame) and śrī (greatness)… that too belongs to Bhagavān.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 35:

bṛhatsāma tathā sāmnāṃ gāyatrī chandasāmaham |
māsānāṃ mārgaśīrṣō'hamṛtūnāṃ kusumākaraḥ ||

Moreover (I am) the Brhatsama among sāma-mantras; I am the Gāyatrī among Vēdic mantras; I am the Margasirsa among months; I am spring among seasons.


  • bṛhatsāma tathā sāmnāṃ: Among sāma-veda mantrās, I am mantra called Bṛhad-sāma.
    • It’s auspicious and melodious mantra glorifying infinite Bhagavān.
  • aham gāyatrī chandasām: Among various meters, I am gāyatrī meter. Gāyatrī has 2 meanings:
    • 1) gāyatrī-meter: (see Vedic-meter)
      • Many meters (chandas) in Veda, like: uṣṇik, anuṣṭup, triṣṭup, etc.
        • Among them, I am gāyatrī meter.
      • About meters:
        • Anuṣṭup meter called: śloka.
          • Has 4 pādas (lines).
          • Each pāda has 8 letters/syllables (akṣaras).
          • Total 32 akṣaras.
      • About gāyatrī-meter:
        • Has 3 pādas. Each has 8 akṣaras. Total 24 letters.
        • EG: gāyatrī-mantra:
          • Om: 1 akṣara.
          • Pāda 1: tat savitur vareṇyam = 7 akṣaras.
          • Pāda 2: bhargo devasya dhīmahi = 8 akṣaras.
          • Pāda 3: dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt = 8 akṣaras.
          • Total of 24 akṣaras (syllables): om (tat sa vi tur va re ṇyam) (bhar go de va sya dhī ma hi) (dhi yo yo naḥ pra co da yāt).
      • Why is gāyatrī-meter more exalted?
        • First mantra of Ṛg-veda in gāyatrī.
        • Makes up 25% of Ṛg-veda.
        • Every devatā has gāyatrī-meter attached.
    • 2) gāyatrī-mantra: (source)
      • Most popular mantra of all time because contains summary of entire brahma-vidyā.
      • Meaning:
        • Om: Īśvara, ultimate cause, and includes the 3 worlds:
          • Bhūḥ (bhūr is when used with sandhi), bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ: 3 worlds. Gross, subtle, unmanifest. (sthūla, sūkṣma, kāraṇa).
        • Tat (that Lord), vareṇyam (is the most worshipful).
        • Dhīmahi: we either:
          • Meditate upon that Lord as a sādhana, OR…
          • Recognize that Lord through brahma-vidyā.
          • Meaning:
            • Initial stages of spirituality, mantra is chanted as sādhana.
            • Later mantra is contemplated upon.
        • We contemplate upon devasya savituḥ: one who is self-effulgent and all-knowledge.
          • All-knowledge is symbolized by savitā (sun).
            • Because sun’s brilliance leaves no trace of darkness (ignorance).
            • Thus sun always likened to ātmā/Īśvara.
        • Yaḥ (that Lord), who is bhargaḥ (all-knowledge), pracodayāt (may He brighten), naḥ dhiyaḥ (our minds).
      • Mantra Translation: We are meditating upon the effulgence of Sun God, which activates our intelligence. Memory increase, viveka sharpens & vairāgyam improves, leads to niṣṭhā-jñānam.
      • Once know depth of this mantra, you have studied all Vedas.
      • Technical: Braḥmana Initiation:
        • Child is initiated into gāyatrī-mantra, after prostrating to elderly or scholar.
        • Child gets up and introduces himself as:
          • I am born in family of this ṛṣi.
          • I follow this dharma-sūtra (EG: āpastamba-sūtra, bodhāyana-sūtra), for purpose of performing various rituals.
          • I have studied this branch of Veda.
          • Practice still maintained by brāhmaṇas.
          • He may never have opened the Veda, but can say “I studied Veda” because gāyatrī-mantra chanting is equivalent to study of one Veda.
      • Main glory of gāyatrī-mantra is it contains essence of Veda.
      • How did gāyatrī-mantra come?
        • Brahmāji wanted to take essence of Veda and compress it into a single mantra.
          • Because as age turned rajasic, people had less time to chant whole Veda.
        • So Brahmāji created 3 pādas (lines) which summarized each of 3 main Vedās (Atharva-veda mainly for rituals).
          • Line 1: Ṛg-veda.
          • Line 2: Yajur-veda.
          • Line 3: Sāma-veda.
      • Accordingly, chanting gāyatrī-mantra, is equivalent to chanting 3 vedās.
      • It’s said, without chanting gāyatrī, then other mantra chanting, will not be fully effective.
        • Whereas, chanting gāyatrī, no other mantrās needed.
  • aham māsānāṃ mārgaśīrṣaḥ: Among the 12 months of year, I am Mārgaśīrṣa (Dec 15 – Jan 15).
    • Earth food related: Earth is rich in nutrients (after rainy season) and ready for planting/sowing.
    • Astrologically related:
      • During this month, sun goes to house of Capricorn.
      • End of this month, southern solstice comes to end.
      • Month is astrologically conducive to religious activities / spiritual sādhana.
  • ṛtūnāṃ kusumākaraḥ: I am Spring among the 6-seasons, when flowers blossom and people are most happy.
    • Each season lasts 2 months:
      • Spring (vasanta), Rainy-season/monsoon (varṣā), Autumn (śaradā), Pre-winter (hemanta), Cold-winter (śiśira), Summer (grīṣma).
    • Today, English 4-seasons has overshadowed Vedic.
    • During Spring, important Vedic fire ritual (jyotiṣṭoma) is performed.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 36:

dyūtaṃ chalayatāmasmi tējastējasvināmaham|
jayō'smi vyavasāyō'smi sattvaṃ sattvavatāmaham ||

I am gambling among all deceitful practices; I am the brilliance of the brilliant; I am effort; I am the virtue of the virtuous.


  • asmi dhyūtam chalayatām: I am gambling among all deceitful practices.
    • Chala (gambling) is anything with element of deception. Consequences are…
      • Addiction: like card games, alcohol, extreme sports.
      • Incurs loss. Robs discrimination. Causes irrationality.
        • EG: In mahābhārata, Dharmaputra (Yudhiṣṭhira) was embodiment of dharma.
          • Hooked during game of dice with Śakuni. Lost property, wife, brothers.
          • If Dharmaputra can forget dharma during gambling, then ordinary man stands no chance.
  • aham tejas tejasvinām: I am brilliance in those who are brilliant in any field of knowledge.
    • Meaning whatever brilliance, person enjoys, it does not belong to him/her.
    • All brilliance belongs to ātmā (Awareness), which is limitless in power and knowledge.
      • Thus if haven’t shifted identity to ātmā, then any ownership of “my” brilliance is a false-claim.
        • Why? Because to ajñāni, “my” refers to antaḥ-karaṇa, which learned everything from outside.
          • Antaḥ-karaṇa / memory / world = Īśvara’s glories.
        • 2nd interpretation: I am the brilliant discrimination, which easily resists gambling (chala) temptations.
  • jayaḥ asmi: I am the victory of the victorious. The success of the successful.
  • vyavasāyaḥ asmi: In those who have clarity of understanding because of their EFFORT… I am both, the effort & clarity.
    • What is EFFORT? Sheer hard work.
      • EG: Margot Fonteyn was greatest ballerina in world. Was asked about her effortless grace.
        • She said “It’s effortless now. Behind this grace/spontaneity, is years of grueling practice”.
  • satvaṁ sattvavatām: In sattva-predominant minds, I am that sattva-guṇa.
    • Everyone is mixture of sattva, rajas, tamas.
      • Sattva: accounts for contemplativeness, enquiry, knowledge, happiness.
        • Leads to inclination of: dharma, mokṣa.
      • Rajas: ambition, energy.
        • Leads to inclination of: artha, kāma.
      • Tamas:
        • Neither spiritually nor materially inclined. Lazyness.
        • Śāstra recommendation: First cultivate materialistic desire, then refine to spiritual.
  • Order: Sattva-guṇa mind > applies EFFORT (vyavasāyaḥ) > leads to: spiritual victory (jayaḥ).
    • Thus when inclined to enjoy spiritual success, remember that too belong to Īśvara.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 37:

vṛṣṇīnāṃ vāsudēvō'smi pāṇḍavānāṃ dhanañjayaḥ|
munīnāmapyahaṃ vyāsaḥ kavīnāmuśanā kaviḥ||

I am Krishna among the Vrsnis; I am Arjuna among the Pandavas; I am Vyāsaḥ among the sages and (I am) sage Sukracharya among the seers.


  • vṛṣṇīnāṃ vāsudēvaḥ asmi:
    • Krishna has been speaking of himself as Īśvara.
    • Now Krishna talks of himself as an avatāra with physical body, and called Vāsudeva (son of Vāsudeva, Devaki putraḥ).
    • VERSE: Amongst my people who are called vṛṣṇikula (Yādavas), I am Vāsudeva.
      • Meaning, Yādavas see Kṛṣṇa as jīva, and not Īśvara.
    • QUESTION: Why is Krishna most glorious avatāra, despite other avatārās?
      • According to Paramarthānanda, Krishna avatāra main purpose is to dispense brahma-vidyā.
        • Other avatārās, main purpose was to destroy asurās.
  • pāṇḍavānāṃ dhanañjayaḥ: Among Pāṇḍavas, I am Dhanañjaya (Arjuna). Because:
    • Arjuna considered most accomplished among brothers in mental/physical abilities.
    • Favorite of great men like Bhīṣma, Droṇa. Dearest friend of Lord Krishna.
    • Attracted even celestial beauty Urvaśī.
    • Arjuna is first receiver of Gītā śāstra, directly from Bhagavān.
    • Why did Krishna give Gītā specifically to Arjuna and not Dharmaputra?
      • Because Arjuna asked for it. Thus most qualified.
  • ahaṃ vyāsaḥ munīnām: Among scholars, seers, and those with capacity to think & retain, I am Veda-Vyāsa.
    • He wrote Mahābhārata.
    • Authored 18 Purāṇās.
    • Considered incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu.
    • It is said, all knowledge in world is only a fraction of his total knowledge.
    • Brought together dispersed Veda mantrās and compiled them into 4 groups; sake of preservation/protection.
      • Rule was: Each family retains and studies ONE (selected) Veda, and passes to next generation.
      • Dividing into 4 makes study of each Veda easier. 12-years per Veda.
    • Called Veda-Vyāsa because re-arranged/compiled the Vedās.
      • His original birth name: Kṛṣṇa-Dvaipāyana.
    • Also wrote Brahma-sūtras, which tackles opposing Vedāntic view, thereby establishing Vedic vision.
    • Vyāsa is called sutrakāra. Ādi Śaṅkara is called bhāṣyakāra.
    • Tradition holds that Lord Śiva was Ādi Śaṅkara. And Lord Nārāyaṇa was Vyāsa (Bādarāyaṇa).
      • Since Vyāsa dwelt under the Badara tree (Indian jujube/Ber), while contemplating, became known as Bādarāyaṇa, and work known as Bādarāyaṇa-sūtra (Brahma-sūtra).
    • Without Vyāsa, none of Upaniṣads would have been retained.
  • Kavīnām uśanā kaviḥ:
    • Kavi: can see into 3 periods of time: past, present, future. Meaning ESP (Extra-sensory-perception).
    • Among such kavi-seers, I am Uśanā (Śukrācārya).
    • He is guru of all asurās. But they wouldn’t listen.
    • Uśana also created famous work on ethics: Śukra-nīti. (sample ethics).


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10 – Verse 38:

daṇḍō damayatāmasmi nītirasmi jigīṣatām |
maunaṃ caivāsmi guhyānāṃ jñānaṃ jñānavatāmaham ||

I am the rod of the punishers; I am diplomacy of those desirous of Victory. I am silence among secrets and I am the wisdom of the wise.


  • daṇḍaḥ damayatām asmi: Among various methods of discipline, I am daṇḍaḥ (rod of punishment).
    • 4 ways to discipline person who strays from path of good (harming self/others):
      1. Sāma: Warm and friendly advice. So they follow the rules.
      2. Dāna: Giving him something will keep his away from wrong.
      3. Bheda: Creating doubt in her mind about her action.
        • How? By education. Let her see how it is not in her own best interest.
      4. When nothing else works, Daṇḍa: punishment to deter him from repeating wrong action.
        • How NOT to punish?
          • With humiliation, unfair guidelines.
          • Causes rebellion, seeking revenge.
        • How to punish?
          • Firstly, if don’t correct child’s mistake, then likely makes bigger mistake in future.
          • Thus punishment can involve: restricting, grounding, physical.
    • Meaning, those who enforce punishment for sake of discipline, I am that discipline.
    • Similarly, if one has self-discipline, I am (Bhagavān) that discipline also.
  • Nītiḥ jigīṣatām: Amongst the victorious, I am nītiḥ (diplomacy/strategy), which leads to success.
    • When achieve victory (free of himsa), it must come with framework of justice. Else not considered victory, but cheating (which creates resentment in society).
      • I am that order of justice, which leads to dharmic victory.
  • maunaṃ ca eva asmi guhyānāṃ: Among devices which maintain secrecy, I am the best device – silence.
    • 2nd interpretation: maunam (SILENCE) also represents paramātma, which even witnesses the silence-of-sound.
      • Thus, I am paramātma among the secrets. Reason why CH9 called: Rāja vidyā rāja guhyam: King of knowledge/secrets.
  • jñānaṃ jñānavatām aham: OF those with ātma-jñānam, I am that knowledge because of which jñāni is free.
    • Therefore any namaskāra to jñāni, is never claimed as own, but quietly handed over to Īśvara.
    • How to “hand over” to Īśvara?
      • Virāt-bhakta’s buddhi:
        • Īśvara is nimitta/upādāna-kāraṇam of everything.
      • Jñāni’s buddhi:
        • Owning to past practice, the buddhi remains objective. Meaning there is neither:
          • (a) Handing over anything (because if reality is non-dual, what is there to hand over and to whom?), nor…
          • (b) Owning anything.
        • Because both are mithyā.


Keywords: ajnani, aksara akshara, antah karana, antahkarana, apastamba-sutra, asuras, atma, avatara, badarayana, badarayana-sutras, badarayanasutra, bhagavan, bhargo devasya dhimahi, bhasyakara, bhisma bhishma, bodhayana, bradsama brhat sama brhad-sama, brahma vidya brahmavidya, brahma-sutras, brahmana, brahmasutras, dana, danda dandah, devaki putra, devata, dhanahara, dhananjaya, dhiyo yo na pracodayat, dhriti, dhrti, drona, gayatri mantra, gayatri meter, gita, grisma grishma, guna shakti sakti, isvara ishvara, jaya, jnani, jyotistoma jyotishtoma, kirti, krishna-dvaipayana, krsna, krsna-dvaipayana, ksama kshama, laksmi lakshmi, mahabharata, margasirsa margashirsha, maya, medha, mithya, moksa, moksha, namaskara, narayana, nimitta karana, nishtha-jnana, padas, paramatma, parvati, pranahara, puranas, raja guhyam, raja vidya, rig-veda rg-veda, sadhana, sama, sama-veda, samsara, samskara, sarada sharada, sarasvati, sarvahara, sastra, sattva-guna, shastra, sisira shishira, sloka sholka, smriti, smrti, sri, sukra-niti shukra-niti, sukracarya shukracarya, sutrakara, tat savitur verenyam, upadana karana, upanishads upanisad, urvasi urvashi, usana ushan, vairagyam, vak, varsa varsha, vasana, vasudeva, veda-vyasa, vibhuti yoga, virat-bhakta, visnu vishnu, vyavasaya, yadavas, yudhisthira


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission

Recorded 10 March, 2020


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